Advice for GM about magic is needed


Advice


Hi there!
My friend asked me to run a campaign, I said 'yes' and we dove into the rules to make some logical adjustments.
And then we came to some magic tricks and non-standart usage of magic items. Like that story about 'paladin granade' (via 'gaseous form' spell) or 'dwarven army in bag of holding' etc., etc., etc. (I'm sure you've got more stories then I have).

And so we arguing -- he's saying that we need to ban things like this, because 'then why nobody else in the world not using those things', and I'm feeling quite reluctant about this, 'cos I see it like restricting players creativity.

Not sure what I should do -- he's more expirienced in mechanics and since I'm more a storyteller-type of GM than 'I know every rule and mechanic, you can't cheat me around', I usually trust his judgement, but... it just not feels completely right to me.

Maybe somebody had some experience like this? Any advice, please?


When someone wants to tell you hard rules what is ok in campaigns and what not, take it with a grain of salt. Usually their ideas work for the campaigns they can imagine, but they often enough don't apply to others.

Your friend appearantly would be the kind of GM who wants high control about the story. Realism arguments are a quite thin veil to conceal that. And appearantly he wants to determine the campaign's style, without taking any responsibility.

But you will take the seat of the GM. It's your campaign, with your style. If you want it to be focused on story and less on mechanics, that's fine. It's even preferred for some players - just tell the candidates before campaign start.


My suggestion is to use Org Play rules.
It really simplifies the game and focuses on core rules and managing WBL(Wealth By Level). The price is mainly in losing (magical) crafting and having generic magic. Most of the overpowered, nebulous, and crazy stuff has been banned, Animal Companions and such constrained, many rulings on how things should work. A lot of the heavy lifting has been done for you.

You need 4 things; Org Play Guide, Add'l Resources, Campaign Clarifications, and the occasional PFS FAQ. Run the PFS1 scenarios or adventures, 3 chronicles = 1 level.

With that as a baseline you can home game it from there adding back in what you want.


Some advice given to me by a gray old man outside a building at GenCon 2000: "Play YOUR game." That man's name was Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, after someone in the crowd asked him if we SHOULD convert to 3rd edition which was releasing that year.

Bottom line, if you want strict magic rules and no shenanigans as the GM, then do that. If you want a magical free for all, do that. Your game is not your friend's game. Be honest, communicate openly w/your friend about your decision and if your friend doesn't agree with your decision, they are free to not join the game or run their own.

I don't know anywhere that you can find a list of rulings on "corner cases" using magic. I've never even heard of the 2 you've listed here. I know that I'd be fine with them since my rule has always been that whatever the players exploit for their own desires, their enemies can exploit as well.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

You're the GM. If you want to allow it to enable player creativity, then by all means allow it.

Quote:
'then why nobody else in the world not using those things',

Well, maybe they do. Think about how that affects worldbuilding?

Or maybe the PCs truly are the first to think of it. Because that can happen, PCs are special like that.

Or maybe plenty of people thought of it and there's a reason why it doesn't work (and you don't have to inform the PCs why, until they try it). For instance, there's an ancient magically-enforced treaty against this unethical behavior, and it invokes the wrath of ancient dwarven deities.

Frankly any of these three sounds more interesting than a flat "no". Go for it!


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Some advice given to me by a gray old man outside a building at GenCon 2000: "Play YOUR game." That man's name was Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, after someone in the crowd asked him if we SHOULD convert to 3rd edition which was releasing that year.

Bottom line, if you want strict magic rules and no shenanigans as the GM, then do that. If you want a magical free for all, do that. Your game is not your friend's game. Be honest, communicate openly w/your friend about your decision and if your friend doesn't agree with your decision, they are free to not join the game or run their own.

I don't know anywhere that you can find a list of rulings on "corner cases" using magic. I've never even heard of the 2 you've listed here. I know that I'd be fine with them since my rule has always been that whatever the players exploit for their own desires, their enemies can exploit as well.

I agree with 95% of this, where I disagree: It's not just the GM's game, the game is for everyone at the table. It's best to work together as a group and decide what rules work best for the group as a whole.


You are the one running the game, so you decide what bits of the system you use or discard. As a general rule of thumb I would say don’t change any mechanics unless you have thought through every possible ramification, but restricting splatbook and third party material until you have reviewed it may be wise. But don’t automatically assume your friend is a perfect judge of the game, as different GMs bring their own biases about what is reasonable and what is shenanigans to the table.

The other thing is that most of the horrendous world breaking stuff requires high level spells or expensive items, and it is perfectly possible to play a campaign which ends before characters get to world breaking levels. If your campaign is designed to end at level 12, portable holes full of armies probably won’t figure in it.


Thank you all for your suggetions, advices and encouraging. They are very helpfull!


One thing to realize about GMing: You can always veto things with "I don't want this in my game". If something breaks the game balance, you don't need any other reason to veto it. Of course, you shouldn't abuse this, and e.g. change Sneak Attack mid-game because the Rogue managed to get a full attack with SA off for once, and you thought the mob died too quickly. But obvious exploits, like infinite money schemes and the likes of that? Just sa "we're playing a game here, you don't win by the campaign fast and effortless as possible."

Also, most of those "creative solutions" don't actually work. The "paladin grenade" for example ignores that the ruels say "You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space." CRB pg. 193, that's some big ass bottle you're gonna need there!


The Funnier Paladin grenade is casting reduce person on an alreay small sized Paladin, having a blinkback belt and using said Paladin as a thrown weapon.


If this is your first effort running a campaign I highly recommend a default answer of 'no'. Get a good handle on the rules and their interactions before allowing crazy corner cases. Give yourself plenty of time to consider the implications of what strange things your players ask for before saying yes.
Another thing is not to be afraid to retcon things if you allowed something unbalancing into your game. Tell your players that this is a possibility when they ask for weird things or want esoteric combinations.

These things become especially important if you like to use the 'rule of cool'.

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